This year, the Mid-Autumn holiday and National days in China fell in the same week, the first week of October, and it was our first break of the year. This was an especially meaningful October break because it held a very special event, Matt and Alayna’s wedding. We attended Andie’s wedding back in January during Chinese New Year and this time we were headed back to Seattle for another wedding. My brother and sister both graciously planned their weddings during times that the Hales could attend (during our breaks). Something that I’m eternally grateful for.
So Saturday morning, the first day of our break, we were up early, packing and preparing for our journey west. It was a long day, our flight didn’t depart from HK until 5pm, but we had to take the 1:30pm ferry since it was a holiday and the others were sold out. To add to the stress, the ferry workers had sold us the wrong date, so we had to rush to rectify the situation moments before boarding closed. Luckily all was well, and we had plenty of time for our customary Pizza Express complete with wine for me and hot chocolate for Paul. Our journey was relatively easy after that, we had a really long layover in Taipei, which we filled with walking and eating. Since our flight was overnight, we all fell asleep relatively easily and walked off the plane in Seattle in good spirits Saturday evening.
That evening was uneventful. We had an airport hotel so we took the shuttle, got checked in and showered and then tried to settle in for some more sleep. It wasn’t working, so we spent an enormous amount of money on a hotel meal and eventually got to bed for about 5-6 hours of more sleep.
We were up early with plans for meeting Andie and Ben and V and her boyfriend Rob. I did a workout at the gym, and then woke the boys up for a ‘first breakfast’ at the hotel. It was super tasty, but I tried not to eat too much, knowing that we had another meal in the near future. Andie and Ben got us promptly at 8:30 and we headed over to Fremont to meet V. It was a brisk morning, and I was happy for the break in summer temperatures, but definitely wasn’t used to the chill. I hugged V hard when I saw her and we proceeded to have a friendly brunch at a really cool place. I didn’t know that Mal was working down the street or I would have insisted on eating there. Oh well, we caught up with her later that day.
After eating we were all super full, so we took a walk down to see the Fremont Troll. I’ve never actually seen it in real life, so it was a cool adventure. From there we parted ways with V and Rob to go kill time grocery shopping before our Airbnb check in.
After much time killing, shopping and then Queen Anne Beer Hall, it was finally time for Andie and Ben to escort us to our apartment for the week. We said goodbye for now, and headed in to unpack and take naps. It was all I could do not to sleep into the night, but we forced ourselves back out to meet up with Matt, Alayna, Mal, Andie, Ben and later V at Queen Anne Beer Hall. The beer hall was literally steps away, so it was a good excuse to get out of bed.
After a few happy hour libations and catching up with the Seattle crew, I was so exhausted I could’ve cried (actually I think I may have a little). We walked ourselves home and slept as many hours as jetlag would allow. All three Hales were up before the sunrise, and I managed to time a run to see it rise over the bay. Quite a different view than my normal runs. Monday we had planned for shopping, so after some fuss, we hustled downtown to pick up a rental car for the day. From there we drove down to Tukwuila to do some mall shopping. We were relatively successful, finding most of what we needed, but spending way too much money. Donnie treated me to my favorite salad at Bahama Breeze (I didn’t even know they still existed!), and then we drove over to the homebrew shop to pick up some much needed yeast and hops. Paul fell asleep in the car, so I lounged with him in the car while Donnie finished up. After that, we all needed a nap, so it was back to our place to sleep. I ventured out a little later to meet up with Heather and her fiance, John at the Watson’s place. We hustled up some dinner and had some wine and then Andie was gracious enough to make Ben drive me home. 🙂 I slept for a few hours before our next great adventure on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning we were out the door by 6am to return our rental car and then get to the bus stop to catch the Bolt Bus down to Portland. The Bolt Bus is just a rebranded version of Greyhound, but it was a pretty quick ride from downtown Seattle to downtown Portland. We arrived at about 11am and our first stop was the Apple store. Donnie treated me to a new iPhone 8 and we played around getting it set up in the shop before heading over to the science museum. It was a longish walk, but the weather was perfect and I was so happy for the clear, cool day. Paul took his time exploring the exhibits, especially a giant whirlpool, and then we ubered over to a nearby brew pub. Portland is obviously known for its craft beer, but this one was super cool because it only brewed sour beers. We enjoyed a few mouth puckering brews before going to our next stop, Deschutes. We had really wanted to visit the brewery, but the drive to Bend would’ve been 5.5 hours, so we opted for the public house in downtown Portland instead. Our very favorite IPA is the Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, and having it straight from the source was amazing. The food was also super yummy and instead of continuing our pub crawl, we hung out at Deschutes for way longer than they probably wanted. From there we caught the bus back home, which should have been easy except it broke down halfway there. We spent an unscheduled 2 hours killing time at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere waiting for a replacement bus. We happily hit the pillow past midnight, but it had been a good day and we had no plans for the next day.
Wednesday was a lazy morning, I got up eventually and went for a run, but we really hadn’t planned to do anything that day. We did some laundry and tried to rally some people to meet us out at Urban Family Brewing in the evening, but it seemed like nothing was going to come together. Kyle arrived and he made his way to us, and Andie came to hang out as well, and before we knew it we had a crew meeting up at our favorite brewing place in Seattle. Kyle doesn’t really like beer, but he had a good time teaching Paul how to play chess. It was really cool to watch. We didn’t have too much time to hang out though, because Paul and I wanted to ride with Andie to the airport to surprise Mom with hugs! We said goodbye to V and Kyle left everyone with plans to meet up with the family at Matt’s with Mom after we retrieved her from the airport. We got there around 9ish for some pizza and yummy salad before Andie and Ben graciously drove us home again. It was a good, lazy day.
Thursday was the first day of wedding activities, and we were up early to vacate our Airbnb by 10am. Mal had kindly offered the use of her car because we were going to be homeless for some hours while she was at work. I walked to meet her for a yummy coffee before dropping her off at work. The day was full of errands, dropping bags off and picking them up, but we did sneak out to Bellevue for a yummy lunch at Fogo de Chao with Mom. After returning Mal’s car, and hanging for a while at Matt and Alayna’s sweet Airbnb, Paul and I headed to hang out with Dad, Susan and Grace before the first wedding activity. We didn’t have too long to chill before piling in the car and heading over to Queen Anne Beer Hall for an evening of fun, laughter and a few too many beers. It was a mixer for everyone who had arrived for the wedding, so Kyle, V, Mal and many members of my family were there. It was a great time. Paul opted to head home with Dad, so Donnie and I had the luxury of hanging out a little later than usual. We bid everyone goodnight around midnight, and slept a short while before getting up early on Friday.
Friday morning, I had a cup of coffee and willed myself into my workout clothes. Donnie stayed in bed, and Paul was happily distracted by Mindcraft as I left to run down to Crossfit Felix for the Wedding WOD (workout of the day). Everyone was a little fuzzy-headed as we started, but we all felt really accomplished afterwards. I walked back to Andie and Ben’s place following the workout and we laid out a plan of another day of errands. It flew by. We managed to get our nails done altogether (Mom, her 3 daughters and grandson), Donnie and Andie did the rehearsal, and then we all met back up for the rehearsal dinner at Local 360. It was a fancy spread of delicious food and wonderful company. Mom and Dad happened to sit across from each other, with me nearby, but there were only feelings of love for the impending wedding. Matt made a toast and everybody went home feeling warm despite the cold, blustery wind.
Saturday was the wedding day! Donnie left to practice and prepare for the wedding with the wedding crew, leaving me and Paul to have breakfast with Dad’s extended family and pack! It was good to see my aunts and uncle, as well as cousins from Colorado, and we spent a long morning chatting and eating a yummy breakfast Dad and Susan made. I was already feeling the travel nerves, so I snuck upstairs a few times to get packed and it made me feel a little better. We were due at the venue by 3pm to do family wedding pics, so after Paul got a haircut with the groomsmen, I got us prepped and ready for the wedding. We had to bring all our luggage because we were leaving straight from the venue to the airport that night. Grace and Heather joined me doing hair and makeup and we all left for the venue on time.
The venue was a beautiful space, very urban, but also warm feeling. We were there early enough for pics and there was ample time for Paul to get bored even before the ceremony started. But once things got underway it was wonderful. Alayna looked gorgeous and Matt looked so handsome. Donnie did an excellent job marrying them, and I think I sobbed out loud. Their vows were so beautiful. You could physically feel the love in the air and I was so glad to have been there for the event. A chilly cocktail hour followed the ceremony, and then a warm and filling dinner followed by yummy cupcakes. Speeches were made, there was much more crying, and I’ve never seen Matt so happy. My heart could literally burst even just remembering it now. After all the wedding formalities, including a heartfelt first dance, it was time for the party. Paul wasted no time hitting the dance floor and only took breaks for more Sprite. It was so lovely. Kyle captured a wonderful moment on video that I will try to post. We had a blast and were sorry to say goodbye at the end of the evening, but it was time. From there we caught our flight home, and were back to work on Monday, struggling through the jetlag.
Thank you Matt and Alayna for hosting such a beautiful event that drew together so many wonderful people. We were so happy to be a part of it. Thank you Andie and Ben for sacrificing your time to make us more comfortable while we were there, we owe you big time. And all my love to all the wonderful friends and family I got to see on this whirlwind trip, it was so great to have that precious little time with you. ❤
Much love to all, J